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Global China Research Centre Graduate and Early-Career Research Seminar Series

ExGCRC Seminar

Event details


‘Exploring the Affordance of Feminism in Translating Guan Hanqing for the London Stage: The Case of Rescuing One's Sister in the Wind and Dust’

This talk will address the importance of the ecological affordances that allow theatres to work as a site of welcoming Eastern-Western cultural encounters through translation. The affordances, a term borrowed from biological sciences, refer to the conditions that translators look for in the reception contexts that can maintain or ensure cultural commensurabilities between the source text and the contingent spectatorship. This essay examines Amy Ng’s recent translation Rescuing One's Sister in the Wind and Dust (2021), a play based on a 13th-century classical Chinese opera Zhao Pan’er Jiu Feng Chen (赵盼儿救风尘) by the notable playwright Guan Hanqing (1225-1320), as a typical example of how the translator adopts feminism as an affordance in her translation to negotiate the classical Chinese theatres on the contemporary London stage. The wider context for this translation is that China is consciously ‘telling the China Stories well’ both outside and inside China, while Chinese cultural or Chinese plays are remained radically ‘Othered’ or unfamiliarized on the Anglophone stage. By bringing such an ancient play that is eight centuries away from the contemporary world, Ng’s translation deeply embeds her audience’s complicity of a classical Chinese opera in the affordances of the ongoing feminism movement across the world by sharply touching many pain points of today’s gender political issues such as sisterhood, domestic violence, Chastity, human rights of sex workers, etc. Apart from re-historicizing the gender politics of the past, in the wider picture, Ng’s translation also indicates that translation in theatres inevitably works as an activist site of resistance to the Anglosphere’s routine cultural appropriation of China, especially as a cultural practice that by promoting the conditions of an encounter between both worlds might serve as a source of more equitable recognition of classical Chinese culture.

'‘Islamic State’ in Chinese State News Media: Reporting Terrorismwithin a Communist Regime'

This thesis explores the unique representation of the ‘Islamic State’ in Chinesestate-controlled media, contrasting the prevailing focus on Western media portrayalswithin existing scholarship. It acknowledges that news media in different regions generate distinct representations of terrorism, influenced by their respective mediasystems and ideological positions. This study specifically addresses the gapinunderstanding how the ‘Islamic State’ is depicted in the Chinese media landscape, governed by a communist regime.

The Chinese government perceives the ‘Islamic State’ as a threat to the country’s internal security and stability, particularly in northwestern regions such as Xinjiang. This perception is further complicated by the potential impact on China’s ambitious ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative. Given the extensive state control over China’s news media, encompassing both structure and ideological orientation, this research posits that the representation of the 'Islamic State' in Chinese media is distinctly different from Western depictions, reflective of the unique role of news in a communist context.

This study employs an instrumental approach to multimodal discourse analysis toinvestigate how the 'Islamic State' is portrayed in key state media outlets, namelyXinhua News Agency and It combines corpus-based critical discourseanalysis for textual content and visual discourse analysis for imagery, aimingtoelucidate the social ideologies underlying these representations. The analysis spans the period from the declaration of the Caliphate in 2014 to the death of Abu Bakral-Baghdadi in 2019, tracking the evolution of the 'Islamic State' portrayal.

Three central questions guide this research: 1) How has the representation of the'Islamic State' in Chinese state media evolved from 2014 to 2019? 2) What discursivestrategies are employed by these media to shape the narrative around the 'IslamicState'? 3) To what extent do these portrayals align with China's national interests andpolicy goals, both domestically and internationally?

By examining both verbal and visual elements, this study aims to uncover the intricateways in which Chinese state media navigates and constructs the narrative of terrorism, contributing to a more nuanced understanding of media representation in a communist

Dr Lisha Xu, University of Edinburgh. 'Exploring the Affordance of Feminism in Translating Guan Hanqing for the London Stage: The Case of Rescuing One's Sister in the Wind and Dust'

Qiang Zhang, University of Sheffield. '‘Islamic State’ in Chinese State News Media: Reporting Terrorismwithin a Communist Regime'.


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